Stop me if you have heard this one. Every major Android player is releasing Tegra 2 devices early next year. We have known for awhile now that LG and Motorola dove head first into the dual-core goodness, but a new report from Forbes believes NVIDIA may have picked up another surprising customer.
Ambrish Srivastava, a semiconductors analyst with BMO Capital Markets, says he expects the next Samsung Galaxy tablet will be based on an NVIDIA chip.
If Samsung is open to using Tegra 2 in their tablets, we see no reason why they wouldn’t also use it for smartphones (just like LG and Motorola).
Mr. Srivastava just spent an entire week visiting more than 30 tech companies in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong so let’s assume he is correct. Based on all the public comments available on the web and everything we have heard to date, it sounds totally believable.
Remember NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang recently said in an interview, “Motorola, Samsung and LG are very important to us and will represent long term some of our biggest customers if we are successful.”
We have known about the LG and Motorola products for awhile, but no one has confirmed any Samsung devices until now.
Samsung Mobile has been using the Hummingbird processor (produced by Samsung Semiconductor) in their current lineup of Galaxy devices and we automatically assumed they would migrate to Orion for their dual-core strategy, but it sounds like there are several problems with that plan.
For starters, we have no evidence that Orion is even in production yet. We have seen some engineering samples demoed at trade shows, but that is a lot different from the final silicon that will ship in products and we don’t think Orion will be widely available till Q2 2011.
Next we know that Google said Tegra 2 was the lead platform for Honeycomb tablets.
This means that Samsung Mobile doesn’t have a dual-core CPU ready in time to compete with LG and Motorola. Even if they did, it would not be part of the initial wave of Honeycomb devices.
So if Samsung wants to participate in the dual-core party happening in Q1, then the Tegra 2 processor might be their only option.
Remember those reports about a dual-core Samsung Galaxy 2 and my rumor about a dual-core Nexus S in testing? I believe both those stories are still valid and Samsung is in fact evaluating the performance of the Tegra 2 right now. NVIDIA has been selling the chips for almost a year now, so why wouldn’t Samsung place an order to check them out.
The only question now is – How fast can Samsung bring these Tegra-powered devices to market? Their biggest competitor LG already finished their phone and has a tablet on the way, so Samsung needs to put the pedal down if they want to catch up.
I’ve heard it reported over and over that most smartphones and tablets take 12-16 months to design, but I’m starting to question that as I learn more about the business. It feels more like these companies plan devices with general specs then rush to swap out components several months before launch so they can top the competition. Not everyone does this, but it’s a pretty cut-throat business and that’s the reason why so many rumored products never see the light of day.
What do you think about Forbes report? Should Samsung adopt the Tegra 2 processor and launch devices early next year or should they wait and see how Orion turns out? We know Samsung loves to crank products out to sell to the carriers (example: Galaxy Tab), so I have a strong feeling that this report turns out to be true.
Some people might notice we left HTC out of this dual-core discussion. They are married with Qualcomm and will most certainly wait for the third-gen Snapdragon whenever that is ready.